Wednesday, July 20, 2011

US Defense and Mexico

Richard Downie, Director of the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, published a working paper entitled "Critical Strategic Decisions in Mexico: The Future of US-Mexican Defense Relations." After looking at various options, he comes to the unsurprising conclusion that the military-oriented strategy is the best one (he is, after all, a retired military officer in a Defense Department think tank).

Even if you disagree with the argument, it is an articulate vision of the basic military view of TCOs in Mexico. However, the issue of US politics is a confounding factor. He acknowledges that many Mexican officials believe the US needs to do more to reduce drug demand, but essentially says that is impossible because of domestic politics. Yet he does not explain how that fact affects his preferred policy option.

Those in Mexico who oppose a strategy to confront the TCOs assert that the US is not taking the actions  necessary to assist Mexico solve its problems. In many ways these critics are right. Achieving a US strategy that would truly support Mexico is difficult because it demands consensus from influential domestic interest groups. To accomplish their political agendas, these groups do not necessarily intend to scapegoat Mexico. But the collective result can be a US policy or program that does not demonstrate the appropriate urgency or solidarity with Mexico on challenges that affect the US. Such a plurality of views results in a lackluster effort in providing effective assistance. More importantly, it emphasizes to our Mexican neighbors that too few in the US recognize or even care that the stakes are high in Mexico. The US/Mexican defense relationship is a demonstrable, unifying element toward confronting our shared security challenges.

We want a better relationship even as we refuse to enact policies that would improve it. Unfortunately, that means the policies outlined in the paper won't work as planned.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP